How to Cope with Fatigue when You Have Arthritis
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may experience severe bouts of fatigue on a regular basis. Fatigue can make it difficult to concentrate and may even take its toll on your mood. It is one of the most common symptoms of arthritis and needs to be addressed with some lifestyle changes and stress management techniques. Making sure you take the time to de-stress and get enough sleep can help you combat fatigue in the long-run, but there are also other things you can do to cope with fatigue and improve your health and well-being.
Talk to your physician about the symptoms you are experiencing and how fatigue is affecting your well-being. Your physician will perform a health assessment and may be able to help you pinpoint some of the triggers that are making you so tired.
If you’re always feeling tired and run down more often than not, use some of these tips to cope with fatigue when you have arthritis:
1. Keep a fatigue diary. Write down the times and days of the week that you feel most tired and see if you can detect a pattern in your symptoms. Being more aware of when your bouts of fatigue occur can help you trace the reaction to a certain event or activity. In some cases, you may simply be pushing yourself too hard or not getting enough sleep on certain days of the week. Maintain your fatigue diary for at least a month to see if there are any specific activities or events that may be contributing to the problem.
2. Avoid eating heavy meals. Eating high-fat foods or heavy meals later in the day can make you feel more tired than usual because your body has to work very hard to digest it. Modify your diet so that you are eating smaller, lighter meals throughout the day without compromising on nutrition. Eating snacks and lighter meals can reduce stress on the body and also help to fight fatigue when you have arthritis.
3. Exercise regularly. Get into the habit of exercising regularly so that you can improve range of motion in your joints and increase circulation throughout the body. Just 30 minutes of light exercise every day could be what you need to fight stress and fatigue when you have arthritis. Talk to your doctor about exercises that won’t damage your joints and make a commitment to stick with an exercise schedule week after week.
4. Prioritize your time. Take charge of your schedule and prioritize your activities so that you don’t experience burnout regularly. Simply saying “no” to certain activities can help you manage and conserve your energy better, and may help you fight fatigue in the long-run.
5. Make sure you get enough deep sleep each night. Your body and brain need to recover and recuperate during the deep sleep stage every night. Make sure you are getting quality sleep each night by turning off all the lights and arranging your bedroom to accommodate for sleep. A lack of sleep can make you feel run down and may be the reason why you’re experiencing fatigue.
Learn how to cope with fatigue better by talking to your physician about your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend some lifestyle changes or medication to help you combat fatigue when you have arthritis.